EU’s approval of Novavax vaccine could win over some vaccine skeptics

FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, file photo, a vial of the Phase 3 Novavax coronavirus vaccine is seen ready for use in the trial at St. George's University hospital in London. Novavax says its vaccine appears effective against COVID-19 in a large study, including against variants. Results from the study in the U.S. and Mexico were released on Monday, June 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

The European Commission on Monday granted a conditional marketing authorization for a vaccine against a new type of coronavirus developed by the U.S. biotechnology company Novavax; it is the fifth vaccine against SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus disease (Covid-19), which could be widely used in the European Union.

A positive recommendation for the conditional use of Novavax’s vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, called Nuvaxovid, was issued on Monday by the Amsterdam-based European Medicines Agency (EMA), which said the vaccine was effective against the new type of coronavirus.

The company claims that vaccine might help win over vaccine skeptics. It is based on a conventional technology of the same type used for the decades-old pertussis and hepatitis B vaccines and not stored at extremely low temperatures such as the mRNA vaccines.

On Nov. 17, Novavax submitted an application to the EMA for a conditional marketing authorization for the vaccine it had developed. The US pharmaceutical company’s vaccine is the fifth vaccine to be available in the 27 member states of the European Union after Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, J&J and AstraZeneca.

According to the European Commission’s communication, following the favorable opinion of the EMA, the Brussels panel checked all the supporting documents for the marketing authorization and consulted the member states before granting the authorization.

The statement quoted Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, as saying that the Novavax vaccine is safe and effective, offering additional protection against the coronavirus. Due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, the administration of vaccines as well as third doses to protect against the virus should be increased, von der Leyen added.

In early August, the European Commission approved a preliminary agreement with the U.S. drug company Novavax to purchase 200 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine. Under this plan, EU member states could receive 100 million doses in two batches by 2023.

The first doses are expected to arrive in the first months of 2022, with some 27 million doses ordered by member states for the first quarter of the new year. This amount complements the 2.4 billion doses of vaccine supplied by BioNTech/Pfizer, 460 million delivered by Moderna, 400 million delivered by AstraZeneca, and 400 million delivered by J^J.

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